Xerox and Social Media: Trying to Keep it REAL, You Be the Judge

— Submitted by Karen Arena, Xerox public relations consultant

Last month, Xerox CMO Christa Carone* posted a blog on Forbes.com on social media. She warned about going overboard on social media and how “too much, too soon” could  potentially damage a brand, especially if you are trying to replace traditional advertising and marketing campaigns.  She points to Marc Brownstein’s story on the overreliance of social media.  Although I wouldn’t say Xerox is a company with “exaggerated exuberance” for social media.  The company is not dumping traditional campaigns for purely social ones any time soon.

Her post did, however, get me thinking about social media and the Xerox brand.   The public relations team –folks who contribute to this blog — along with Xerox employees active in social media are working hard to be good, if not great, Xerox brand ambassadors.   Okay, Xerox took it slow for a reason,  and in the beginning it was a little too slow for impatient me who wanted the company to move much, much faster.  Now, I have to confess here that I believe it turned out to be the right tack.

Way back in 2006, Xerox researchers introduced me to social media, through wikis, internal social groups and Second Life.   Since those early days, we’ve learned through trial and error what works and what doesn’t, with more to learn each day.  Last year Xerox developed a working social media group represented by people from all business segments and who are passionate (exuberant?) about social media communities and sharing.  These are the company’s early adopters driving change one tweet, one blog post, one video at a time.   Since the group’s inception, it developed Xerox’s official Social Media guidelines,* best practices, a Ning community — and it continues to listen and learn how to best integrate social marketing into business plans and practices.  And Christa is right, it’s just one component of overall strategies being baked into programs.

Xerox hosting Second Life Panel on Virtual Worlds Circa 2007
Xerox hosting Second Life Panel on Virtual Worlds Circa 2007

Although social media today makes a small percentage of the company’s marketing activities, one thing Xerox doesn’t do is take the power of the community for granted, and those of us “out there” on behalf of Xerox respect the individual voices just as much as we respect and try to uphold the tenets of the iconic Xerox brand.  We’re real people listening and communicating in these uncharted waters, and sometimes mistakes will be made, and I’m certain you’ll be the first to let the company know.

In fact, why not do it right here, right now.  In social communities, is Xerox “getting” it?

— Karen Arena, Xerox public relations consultant

*Updated November 21, 2017.

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8 Comments

  1. Linda June 7, 2010 - Reply

    Not only is Xerox “getting it,” but it is allowing its people to get it too. Instead of trying to avoid the virtual world, Xerox is ok with their employees telling the Xerox story from many different angles rather than trying to keep them quiet because a select few might not get the importance of social media marketing. Good for Xerox.

    • Karen Arena June 8, 2010 - Reply

      Linda, would love to hear what’s going on lately in the Virtual Worlds. It’s encouraging to see that it’s still happening. Perhaps I should brush off my avatar and jump in!

  2. Tom June 7, 2010 - Reply

    Social media is organic. Social media ultimately provides nowhere to hide. Xerox is well positioned to benefit from these two truths. Xerox is a socially responsible corporation with a balanced focus on people, profit and planet. Anne Mulcahy instilled great values and Ursula Burns will take those values to the next level.

    • Karen Arena June 8, 2010 - Reply

      Great points Tom, it’s all about balance, and not to tip too far in one direction or another.

  3. Kate Dobbertin June 10, 2010 - Reply

    Xerox has made great movement in social media within the marketing and external communications. The campaigns involving XMPie have been particularly innovative. However, social media also provides wonderful opportunities within the enterprise to collaborate and communicate. This doesn’t just involve deploying new tools; it involves changing the culture of the entire company. Internal social media requires a commitment not only to open, honest conversation that Ursula espouses, but also to a community of helpfulness. Corporations tend to reward individual success rather than group collaboration; this mindset needs to be reset. I look forward to the steps that Xerox will make toward this end in the near future.

  4. Marty Millner June 10, 2010 - Reply

    Xerox is well positioned to take advantage of new social media strategies. We need to understand the demographics of the Digital Natives that are entering the workforce that have grown up in a social media ego system and will be our future customers.

  5. buy twitter friends March 18, 2011 - Reply

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